The political system is built on the French
model. In reality, however, the political struggle does
not take place within the framework of the democratic
institutions. Constitutions and laws appear most
backstage on the political scene. Military coups and
armed violence have characterized the republic since its
independence in 1960.
After the rebel movement Séléka overthrew President
François Bozizé in March 2013 (see Modern History),
self-proclaimed President Michel Djotodia repealed the
Total population and chart of Central African Republic for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
It was replaced by a new constitution in spring 2016,
which had previously been approved by 90 percent of
voters in a referendum. According to it, the president
is head of state and is elected in general elections for
a term of five years. The President has the right to
stand for re-election once. The executive power lies
with the president. It is also they who appoint the
government on the advice of a prime minister. The
legislative power lies with the 140 members of the
National Assembly who are elected for a term of five
years. The constitution also paves the way for a Senate
whose members are also to be appointed for five years.
Neither MPs nor members of the Constitutional Court have
any immunity from prosecution for really serious crimes
such as high treason.
The country is divided into 14 administrative areas,
prefectures and two economic areas: Gribingui and Sangha.
The capital city of Bangui has a special status.
Party politics is characterized by ethnic and
geographical belonging. The political parties do not
target the entire nation but represent different peoples
groups and are prepared to fight hard - often by force -
for the interests of their own group. In the new
National Assembly elected in the spring of 2016, none of
the traditional parties gained any strong position, as
many as 60 of the 140 members were elected as
Traditionally, the river peoples in the south (see
Population and Languages) have had the political power,
but when Ange-Félix Patassé was elected president in
1993 it meant that the savannah people in the north
strengthened their position. Patassé gathered the
peoples of the north and northwest of the
Central African People's Liberation Movement (Mouvement
pour la libération du Peuple centrafricaine, MLPC) was
founded in 1979. MLPC ruled the country from 1993 to
March 2003, when the former army chief François Bozizé
seized power in a military coup (see Modern History).
In 2005, businessmen and politicians formed the
partial alliance National Unification
Movement Kwa Na Kwa (Convergence
nationale kwa na kwa) in support of Bozizé.
Another party that has played an important role in
politics is the Central African Democratic
Collection (Rassemblement démocratique
centrafricaine, RDC), which was the only allowed party
between 1987 and 1992. The RDC has traditionally had its
support among the Yakoma River people in the south.
Former party leader André Kolingba was president from
1981 to 1993.
Bozizé, after his fall from power (see above), formed
a political movement in exile, the Front to
restore the constitutional order in Central Africa
(Front pour le retour ŕ l'ordre constitutionnel en
Centrafrique, FROC) as an attempt to get money and
negotiations with money back its influence in the
Central African Republic.
A large number of armed groups of varying size and
character are ravaging the country. Within each group
there are different factions, which sometimes change
Developments in the northern parts of the country
have been neglected since the colonial era. Here, the
lack of work and basic social institutions is
particularly great, which has been the breeding ground
for a number of rebel movements over the past decade.
In the fall of 2012, several rebel groups formed a
new force called Séléka (the word means
alliance in the Sango language) that quickly marched
against Bangui and overthrew the then president (see
Modern History and Calendar).
Séléka also had its base in the Muslim-dominated
northeastern part of the country and the majority of
those who joined were Muslims. However, the movement had
no religious goals, such as the introduction of an
Islamic social order. The reason for the dissatisfaction
was, among other things, the living conditions in the
north and the disappointment that the promises from
previous peace agreements were not fulfilled. Séléka
also included mercenaries from Chad and Sudan.
During his offensive, Séléka plundered and killed
many civilians (see Modern History). Especially
Christians came into the fray and the non-Muslim
population formed self-defense groups against Séléka.
They often consisted of young men from the countryside
who saw how Séléka burned their villages and killed many
of their families. After losing everything, they went to
the capital to demand revenge. These militia, anti-Balakas,
eventually joined former soldiers of the government
army, who supported Bozizé, as well as criminal groups
and other civilians who said they wanted to clean the
capital and the entire country from Muslims.
Anti-balaka is often described as a
Christian militia but many of its followers are
animists, that is, they profess to traditional African
religions. Anti-balaka means anti-machete in the Sango
language and is said to have this meaning in the
countryside, but in the cities the term refers to how,
through magic (a voodoo amulet), it protects itself from
being damaged by bullets (balles) and weapons (AK =
Séléka disbanded in September 2013 but many of its
members refused to lay down their weapons and formed new
groups that continued the fighting (read more in Modern
History and Current Politics).
14 different militia groups participated in the
negotiations that led to a peace agreement in 2019, the
eighth agreement in six years.
The Ugandan rebel group Lord's Liberation
Army (LRA) also operates in the Central African
Republic to forcefully recruit members and procure
supplies. The LRA has killed and taken away many
civilians in the country but in recent years the
violence on the part of the LRA has decreased.
In addition, more or less well-organized criminal
gangs are ravaging the country.
The judiciary and human rights
According to the Constitution of 2016, the judicial
system should be independent of the authorities, but in
practice it is influenced by the government. There is a
Constitutional Court with nine judges, a Court of
Cassation and a Court of Auditors. The Supreme Court is
the Supreme Court.
The courts work poorly, partly because there is no
qualified staff. Corruption is widespread within the
legal system as it is common for employees not to
receive their salaries.
The death penalty is found in the legislation, but is
rarely sentenced. In 2002, President André Kolingba was
sentenced to death in his absence for a coup attempt in
In 2018, the Central African Republic ranked 149th
out of 180 countries on the organization Transparency
International's corruption index.
According to the UN, the conflict had claimed about
5,000 casualties from the end of 2012 through the summer
of 2015. One million people had been forced to flee and
many homes had been burned down. Sexual violence was
also widespread. Soldiers from the foreign peace forces
are also accused of committing sexual abuse of children.
Since the national judicial system has proved
inadequate, the members of the court must be both
national and international. Prosecutors should always
come from abroad. The Special Court shall cooperate with
the International Criminal Court (ICC).
According to UN estimates at the beginning of 2014,
there were between 6,000 and 8,000 children in the
various armed groups who were forced to commit abuse. In
2015, the government and the armed groups in the country
agreed that child soldiers should be released. But how
many who have really ended up as soldiers are uncertain.
In September 2014, the ICC announced that it would
formally begin to investigate allegations of war crimes
in the Central African Republic. ICC chief prosecutor
Fatou Bensouda said both sides of the conflict were
guilty of serious crimes such as murder, rape, forced
displacement and recruitment of child soldiers. In 2018,
Patrice-Edouard Ngaďssona and Alfred Yekatom, who both
played a leading role in the anti-Balaka militia, were
arrested and handed over to the ICC.
The ICC is already pursuing a target that includes
suspected war crimes in the Central African Republic. In
2009, Congolese opposition leader and former rebel
leader Jean-Pierre Bemba was indicted for war crimes and
crimes against humanity. Among other things, Bemba was
accused of abuses committed by his forces and government
soldiers in the Central African Republic in 2002, when
they helped the then president defeat a coup attempt.
Bemba was convicted in 2016 of murders and rapes
committed by his rebels in the neighboring country to 18
years in prison. He was found guilty of five counts of
war crimes and crimes against humanity. The prosecutor
had been in prison for 25 years. Bemba, who was Vice
President of Congo-Kinshasa 2003-2006, thus became the
person of the highest rank judged by the ICC. He was
also the first to be convicted of sexual violence in
Fighting breaks out in the north
Fighting breaks out between government forces and a rebel group called the
Union of Democratic Unity Forces (UFDR) in the north of the country. The Rebels
had helped Bozizé to power in 2003 but later became dissatisfied with him.
Thousands of residents flee to Chad to escape the violence and lawlessness in
Bozizé wins the presidential election
François Bozizé wins the presidential election after he has banned his main
opponent, the deposed President Patassé, from running for candidacy. In the
parliamentary elections, the newly formed Bozizétrogna National unity movement
Kwa Na Kwa becomes the largest party coalition.